What Is Evidence in a Personal Injury Case?Get a Free Consultation
The foundation of any legal claim is evidence: facts or information that indicates whether a belief or claim is true. In a personal injury case, evidence is necessary to support an injured victim’s claim against an accused party. It is the support needed to prove that were it not for the other party’s negligence, the victim would not be injured.
Types of Evidence in a Personal Injury Case
By definition, evidence can be anything that provides proof. It is something legally submitted during a dispute to ascertain the truth of a matter. The outcome of a case will be decided based on the evidence provided, or lack thereof. The evidence presented during a personal injury claim can take many forms, including:
- Physical evidence: tangible evidence that can be observed in person, such as personal property damage, the visible injuries suffered in an accident, tools or equipment, or evidence of an altercation (e.g., a weapon used in an assault case).
- Evidence from the scene: items or information collected at the scene where the accident took place, such as part of the location or setting. Examples include skid marks on the road after an auto accident or pictures of the weather or road conditions.
- Documents and records: paper or electronic documentation to help establish a fact of the case, such as a victim’s medical records, hospital bills, injury documentation, financial documents, copies of insurance policies, police accident reports and pay stubs.
- Witnesses: eyewitnesses, or people who were present when the accident or injury occurred, may give statements about what they saw or heard. Expert witnesses may also be hired to give testimony based on their high level of training or experience in a specific subject.
- Photo and video evidence: visual evidence of what happened, such as photographs of the scene of an accident immediately after it happened or video footage of the event. Pictures can provide strong evidence, such as the conditions of the floors in a slip and fall accident claim.
The best way to collect evidence to support an injury case in Tampa is with assistance from a Tampa injury attorney. A law firm can send investigators to the scene of your accident to collect any physical evidence and take photos. An attorney can also send letters of preservation, which require the other side of the case to keep and not destroy any evidence connected to the accident. Finally, a lawyer can take steps to collect information, such as accessing cell phone records or issuing subpoenas.
How Much Evidence Is Needed to Win a Personal Injury Case?
Each type of legal dispute has a different bar for how much evidence must be provided to prove the claim being made. The burden of proof in a personal injury case is a “preponderance of the evidence.” This is less than the burden of proof in a criminal case, which is “proof beyond a reasonable doubt.” A preponderance of the evidence means to prove that something is more likely to be true than not true. In other words, it is true with at least a 51 percent certainty. This is one of the lowest burdens of proof in the legal system.
For a plaintiff to win a personal injury case, the evidence must show that the defendant is more likely than not responsible for the damages suffered. The jury must be convinced that each of the required elements of a claim is more likely true than not. In general, the required elements in a personal injury case are 1) duty of care, 2) breach of duty, 3) causation and 4) damages. These are the four elements of negligence, or the failure to exercise reasonable care. If negligence can be established based on a preponderance of the evidence, the defendant will be held liable for the plaintiff’s injuries.